The New York Times covers the Apple vs Bloggers suit again today. Clearly not all bloggers have journalistic aspirations or intentions, nor do they work with the discipline of professional journalists.
However, there are blogs which have a much more investigative-style akin to mainstream media and which emulate those disciplines. At what point do they cross the threshold and gain the privileges and protections of mainstream journalists? Is it the number of readers the blog attracts? If so, many blogs are more journalistic than niche publications. Is it a function of accreditation? Securing a certification which demonstrates intent to practice investigative blogging and a subscription to a code of ethics? Is that even practicable?
The risk here is obviously that a universal rule will either apply to all bloggers who become de facto journalists whether they want to or not, which devalues the profession and its rights. Or that those rights are withdrawn from all journalists as a blanket ruling. Neither is satisfactory. I suspect the accreditation route might be a way forward if a practical solution can be found. There’s a similar approach being taken with podcasting and the licensing issues which that involves if podcasters chose to broadcast music, but again that is still nascent and ability to enforce those licensing rights is difficult when dealing with individuals.
"Some bloggers want any protection available to journalists at traditional media companies to also be available to them, and journalists at those companies want to make sure that the reporter shield privilege is preserved.
Yet if recognizing a privilege for bloggers means that everyone online can maintain that they are journalists, judges may conclude that rather than giving everyone the privilege, no one should have it. That possibility worries reporters, who could find themselves at new risk for what they write or broadcast."